Or – “The New Order Ariseth… But Are They Any Goodeth?”


It’s always challenging when a new team takes over an established title, but in the case of Supergirl & The Legion it’s doubly difficult. For one, this newest incarnation of the Legion has only been around for a short time and has pretty much only been handled by Mark Waid & Barry Kitson. Also worth taking into consideration: this version of the Legion is a THIRD distinct version of a team that many people have been following for decades. Keeping the characters distinct of the two previous incarnations has been difficult enough, now we have a new take on both art and story, which could add to the cognitive dissonance. The LSH has embarked on their latest epic quest, and the main question in my mind is, “Can I enjoy this without constantly comparing to what came before?”

Previously, on Supergirl & The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Dominators attack on Earth was repelled by what seemed to be lethal force, but only a few Legionnaires know that the entire PLANET was actually hurled into the Phantom Zone rather than destroyed. Immediately after that battle, Cosmic Boy lost the Legion leadership election (presumably due to what seemed like the extreme nature of his battle plan and the LSH1.jpgseeming sacrifice of Mon-El) but rather than choosing his opponent Brainiac 5, the throngs of Legionnaires throughout the galaxy chose Supergirl. In a display of bad timing that you would have thought they might have seen coming, a 41st century hero team called the Knights Tempus arrived to offer Cos membership in their ranks, and he accepted, leaving behind only his flight ring and a statue of the Legion founders. Now, the United Planets wants to talk to Cosmic Boy regarding what they believe is the death of thousands of sentients, and Supergirl has sent out three teams to investigate three possible leads. One team has reached Lallor, (a familiar name to the old-school Legion fans) another is on Earth, but this issue focuses on the team sent to Winath, home of Lighting Lad, Light Lass, and their semi-evil big brother Mekt. Supergirl, with assistance from Brainiac 5, has assigned Sun Boy (leader of Terror Firma), Mekt (leader of the Wanderers), and Star Boy (Cosmic Boy’s right hand man.) It’s a team practically designed to create friction, and the presence of U.P. special prosecutor Tenzil Kem is doing nothing to help their stress levels. “Let the record show that Thom Kallor alias “Star Boy,” confirms incriminating statements made by the fugitive Rokk Krinn, alias “Cosmic Boy.” When Mekt points out that they’re on a Winathian farm, Tenzil points out that his glasses are recording, and that this is an official field deposition…


Heh. For a crazy man, Mekt was kinda cool there for a second… Of course it pales before the complete lack of intimidation on the face of the artist formerly known as Matter-Eater Lad. I like that the new art is a complete departure from Barry Kitson’s smooth and polished style, giving us a moodier and somewhat more photorealistic take on the 30th century. Tenzil reveals that he came to Winath because of massive electromagnetic disturbances, which resemble the sort of E/M fallout generated by Cosmic Boy’s magnetic powers. Star Boy calls in a Brainiac assist, and reports that Winath is essentially deserted, but Brainy is more worried about the presence of Tenzil. “Keep searching. I don’t know what happened to [Mekt’s] parents… That is for YOU to determine. Just DO NOT let Kem get the better of you.” The foursome considers flying, but the local boy knows better than try that…


Oh, goody. Spooky underground caverns. Mekt is surprised to find the underground chambers completely empty, explaining that these are the chambers where they actually harvest the grain, pulling it straight down and processing it. I’m suddenly getting a strange sort of Wizard of Oz vibe here, with Mekt looking for home, Tenzil looking for a heart, Star Boy for courage and Sun Boy for a brain. Tenzil points out that Mekt keeps saying ‘they’ rather than we, and the Ranzz singlet replies, “I haven’t really been one of them since…” Star Boy interrupts with “That accident that gave you your powers?” Mekt replies that it’s been much longer than that, but Tenzil interrupts his flashback.


Validus, you say? Interesting… Mekt flips out, szpping Sun Boy and Tenzil (“That’s a felony!!” Heh…) before Star Boy interjects. “You said Brainy put us together so we’d turn on each other! Wanna prove him right?” Mekt might have listened, but an angry Sun Boy leaps into action, putting his flames against the man once known as Lightning Lord. As the blasts start flying, Tenzil exercises the better part of valor and gets gone, while Sun Boy shrugs off the megavoltage with a sneer. “Is that all the juice you’ve got, Lightning Loser?”


“Acting like Uranuses.” I can’t decide whether that’s clever or childish, so I’ll let that one fly. Star Boy lets up on the hyper-gravity, and Mekt reveals the truth about Validus, explaining that he’s the local boogeyman, a storm giant who lives in the clouds… the lord of lightning. (Foreshadowing: Your key to quality literature.) Mekt, being born one of Winath’s rare non-twinned babies was teased throughout school that Validus was his real father, adding to his isolation and the anger that led him to leave Winath…


Mekt was apparently pulled into a cult of Validus worshipers, who convinced him that he was part of their prophecies, the solo child who could bring their God to them. For the first time in the various revisions of the Legion, Mekt’s trip to Korbal, the lightning planet, was more than just a joyride. Unfortunately for Mekt, his concerned younger siblings stowed away on the ship, and all THREE were given powers from the blasts of the lightning beasts. (I note that no explanation is given of whether Ayla got lightning powers and somehow changed to her Light Lass abilities, or whether she got the null-gravity abilities from the lightning bolts.)


Rejected by even the freaky cult that worships the secret cloud god when your life is already one big “Thanks, but no thanks” probably pushed Mekt over the edge into his current sociopathic head-butting glory. As for the fleeing Special Prosecutor, Tenzil is shocked to discover that the tunnels aren’t abandoned, after all. Two young boys ask him if he’s with the Legion, and when he tells them no, they lead him to meet someone called Mayor Simzz. “The mayor says those Legionnaires are dangerous,” remarks one of the boy. The lead him into a room, but when the door closes, Tenzil realizes he’s locked in a grain silo. “Tenzil, you stupid, stupid man…” he berates himselves, yelling to the boys to let him out.


Oh, no! The children of the corn crib! I’m not worried for Tenzil, knowing the capabilities of Bismollians like I do, but I expect there are at least some people who will be surprised by the end of THIS scene… As for the boys, they return to the mayor, who orders his unseen people to get into position. Star Boy, Sun Boy, and Mekt finally find the population, and Ranzz is amazed to see that he recognizes the people in the front of the crowd…


A horde of Winathians appear, all firing lightning, chanting “The Lord of Lightning demands it!” Annnd, scene! We leave our Legionnaires (technically one Legionnaire, one ex-Legionnaire, and one galactic-class loony-tune) at the mercy of their power…

Still, I wasn’t disappointed in this issue. Dennis Calero’s art, though a departure, is pretty fascinating to look at, and the underground tunnel system comes across as suitably creepy and unnerving. Tenzil looks much more intimidating and well-dressed, and even Star Boy gains a little gravity (no pun intended) under his pen. Tony Bedard is well-suited to the type of intrigues that have characterized this version of the Legion, handling all the characters with aplomb, even if he’s side-barred the “Young Vs. Old” conceit central to the first 30 issues. I suspect that the mystery of what happened to Cosmic Boy won’t be solved in any of our three locales, but I pretty much don’t mind. There’s a lot going on here, and it doesn’t let down fans of the current Threeboot Legion, while also reviving concepts dear to the original incarnation. It’s a 3 out of 5 star effort, and I like the potential I’m seeing in the collaboration here… If they know what’s good for them, they’ll make Tenzil a full-fledged member of the team, for me and the seven other M-E Lad fans out there.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. August 1, 2007 at 3:02 pm — Reply

    I’ve just been looking through some of the Legion stuff you’ve written on this site. It’s very good, and makes my blog (Legion Abstract) seem like a sad waste of time.

  2. Lad Boy
    August 2, 2007 at 8:08 am — Reply

    Excellent analysis of #32. Though I’d give it maybe a 4, and Matthew E., if your blog’s a sad waste of time, then sadly, I’ve wasted a lot of time reading for several years now. It’s a fun time to be a Legion junkie, I mean, fan.

  3. Jerry S.
    August 4, 2007 at 8:19 pm — Reply

    well, this version of the Legion is going nowhere… sad… so sad…

  4. August 4, 2007 at 11:44 pm — Reply

    I’ve just been looking through some of the Legion stuff you’ve written on this site. It’s very good, and makes my blog (Legion Abstract) seem like a sad waste of time.

    Not at all. We might have similar ideas, but your take is as valid as mine, and there’s always room on the intarwebs for somebody who can convey the coolness of concepts thought dead and gone without the snark (though Atmos deserves every bit of the condescenscion you heap on him.) Presuming I ever get to the point where the 5-year-Gap Legionnaires are mentioned, he’ll get half a paragraph and the finger from me. :)

  5. pedantic peasant
    August 5, 2007 at 3:57 pm — Reply


    I’m away from the area and haven’t gotten the issue yet, so thanks for the (p)review.

    I’m surprised you didn’t talk about the Validus/Fatal Five connection, especially since the Validus graffitti does look a little like dome-head.

    Also, with your multi-generations/versional references, there’s also the “Great Darkness Saga” sub-plot of Big D stealing one of Irma and Garth’s twins and sending it back through time.

    Validus: Mekt’s dad, and his nephew?

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